Chapter 5:

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Xavier.

"Where am I taking you," I break the silence that has grown noticeably loud since our departure from where I spotted Scar.

      When I saw her, lounging on the boulder, I couldn't seem to bring myself to drive past without interacting with her. Ever since last night I've been itching to see her again; to talk to her again.

      I remember being in a relationship with one of her friends -Emily. Scarlet and I didn't become close, but we did talk occasionally. I remember her particularly out of all of her friends; she is just different.

      I don't think she remembers me though. It's been a while and she always had this look of surprise on her face when I would greet her long after Emily and I ended things. That's the reason I stopped, I didn't want to look like some creep.

      I redirect my attention towards Scarlet, glancing at her briefly. Her forehead is resting against the passenger door window; taking in the still land that is currently contradicting with our movement.

      From the corner of my eye I see her turn to look at me, "Just to town. You can drop me off near the old theater. I can walk from there." Her voice is laced with a hint of boredom. After replying, she repositioned herself to her earlier placement.

      "Scarlet," I start saying before she interrupts me, shaking her head.

      "No, Xavier. I know what you're thinking and my answer is no. I'm walking from the theatre. I am fully capable of doing it, you've already done so much for me." She turns her head to look at me.

      I feel a smirk tug at my chapped lips. "And what is it that I'm thinking, Love?" My eyes meet hers, challenging them.

      She lets out a huff of air and rolls her eyes at me, turning her head once again. I would have believed her annoyance if it were not for the smile she failed to hide from me.

      "Hmm, I thought so." I say before returning my focus to the road ahead of us, my smile still present.

      Silence has washed into the car yet again, but neither of us try to break it this time.

      My eyes wonder to the trees eyeing us curiously as we move past them. I slow down, allowing myself to take in what is left of this world. Taking in the damage the big war has left behind, along with the lingering pain that will not subside with years to come; pain that will remain with me for the rest of my feeble existence.

      I tighten my hands on the steering wheel -the whites of my knuckles being made visible- when I feel the tremor of grief creep through my being, causing little prickles to rise on my skin. I draw in an unsteady breath, hoping Scarlet doesn't hear the tremor overpower me. Not a day has passed that the death of my father hasn't effected me. I refused to leave the house for months after his death; some days I still can't. It's difficult to face a world knowing you have to fill the shoes of someone great; someone you cannot compete with. Mom is proud of me and of how far I've come, but if only she knew how broken I am. If only someone would see that I'm drowning, day after day. The grief is gnawing at me, at my mind- it's driving me insane. But, at the end of the day I need to be strong for both mom and Quinn. I have to protect them and the only way to do that, I realized long ago, is to not show my grief, my vulnerability in any way- at least not yet. Not as long as I haven't found someone who understands.

     My answer comes to me when she turns to face me- she can definitely sense something is wrong, "Xavier, is everything alright?" Worry clear in her eyes; in her softened voice.

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